11 July 2010

The New American Religion

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism:
1. "A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth." 2. "God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions." 3. "The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself." 4. "God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when God is needed to resolve a problem." 5. "Good people go to heaven when they die."

That, in sum, is the creed to which much adolescent faith can be reduced. After conducting more than 3,000 interviews with American adolescents, the researchers reported that, when it came to the most crucial questions of faith and beliefs, many adolescents responded with a shrug and "whatever."
The five points above are generally what I hear from the pulpit at most Masses I've attended, which is one of the reasons I've quit going to Novus Ordo Masses and am back to Mass in the extraordinary form, with its rock-ribbed sermons filled with truth and a rich understanding of the faith--that, and the fact that I can no longer stand the way the Eucharist is treated in most parishes, by laity and, frankly, by some priests. It drives me absolutely nuts when I see priests grabbing fistfuls of consecrated hosts and doling them out among communion bowls, sometimes dropping hosts onto the altar, then using those same hands to wipe their noses and touch all manner of things before the ablutions. Aaaargh! Perhaps the reason 70% of Catholic laity don't believe in the Real Presence is because our priests, God love them, don't believe it either--or at least don't act is if they do. Time was only the thumb and forefinger were allowed to touch the consecrated Host, and afterwards had to be held together, touching nothing else, until the ablutions--and if a Host was dropped, the area would be immediately covered with an altar cloth, and after Mass, the priest would inspect the area where the host fell; if any remained, he would place it in the chalice or on the paten, wipe it with his fingers, and put it in his mouth to ensure no bits remained. He would then use holy water to wipe the area, remove the cloth to have it washed and pour the holy water down the sacrarium. In my few years as a Catholic, I've seen a few Hosts dropped--but only once have I ever seen the area properly purified, and that was at a traditional Latin Mass. Seeing that purifying ritual, so carefully and tenderly done by this FSSP priest, moved me to no end. One was left with no doubt whatsoever that the priest believed. Would that all parishes could set such an example! Unfortunately, we're stuck--in most cases--with moralistic therapeutic deism.
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